Like most kids of the ’70s, I grew up in a bedroom plastered with posters and clipped photos from magazines on my walls, guarded by a bedroom door with valuable stickers from the wax packs of trading cards.
One of my all-time favorite posters came straight from the folds of Dynamite magazine: A 3-D King Kong, looking fierce atop the Empire State Building as he swatted threatening biplanes. A special set of classic, cardboard 3-D glasses were included in the magazine, and I marveled at the fact that I could experience the wonder and majesty of Kong in this trippy new way.
Another poster (not in 3-D) from Dynamite featured iconic B-movie monsters of my youth — characters and creatures from THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN, THE FLY, GODZILLA, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, THE REPTILE and KING KONG.
I was a Monster Kid through and through; I spent a solid amount of my childhood curled up in front of a small black-and-white television in my den watching so many of these types of movies on a weekday or Saturday afternoon. Once my mom kicked me away from the TV, I’d head straight to pen, paper and crayons to create my own monster-inspired adventures. Who knows how much time I spent studying the details of these creatures on my wall when I had down time as a kid?
It wasn’t until years later that I realized the groovy, ’70s-era design of the B-movie monsters poster that hung on my wall was reminiscent of another piece of printed art on tin that adorned the wood-paneled wall of our kitchen: Babe Rainbow (by Brit pop artist Peter Blake), a fictitious female wrestler I often asked my parents about — and they never could give me a straight answer.
Starting in 1974, Dynamite magazine from Scholastic Book Services was the pop-culture pulse for so many of us growing up with a steady diet of television, movies and music in the ’70s and ’80s. Whether it was the cast of WELCOME BACK KOTTER or THE LOVE BOAT on the cover, era mega-icons such as The Fonz and Farrah, or a look at the genre stuff I loved (STAR WARS, STAR TREK, THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, SPACE: 1999, BUCK ROGERS, LOGAN’S RUN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, LAND OF THE LOST, etc.), I devoured every issue with relish.
And if a poster was included within the pages, like the Count Morbida one below, all the better — as long as you could carefully disconnect it from the staples without tearing it too badly.
Dynamite‘s Kong 3-D poster conceit was such a popular one that they put out a separate poster book in 1979 featuring six works of art by DC and Marvel comic-book artist Neal Adams: The Werewolf, The Vampire, The Horse, The Sorcerer, Clown and Skateboard! The ad copy on the back cover proclaimed, “Watch as the posters seem to jump right off the wall and follow your every move!” I sure was transfixed.
All of these posters that I enjoyed from Dynamite are long gone, likely torn from my walls when I came of age and dreamed of the opposite sex rather than fantastic creatures. But what I wouldn’t do to reclaim that B-movie monsters poster from 1976…
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